Effective communication involves a series of features to insure that communication is successful between both the service user and the care worker. Care workers need to give their full attention and insure they are able to send and receive messages to the service user. There are some skills that care workers need to learn about to insure that the way in which they communicate with the service users is effective and successful. There are various communication skills such as pace, clarity, reflection, paraphrasing, assertiveness etc. I will be explaining in detail four of the skills which care workers need to use when discussing something with service users. Open questions- Open questions in when the care workers askes the service user a question which requires a more detailed long answer from the service user this is perfect when the care worker needs to gain some insight on the service users thoughts and feelings. An example of an open question “What do you feel about our new Zumba dance classes in the care home?”
Closed Questions- Closed questions are the complete opposite of open questions as the format of the question is to obtain short straight answers from the service user and doesn’t need much detail in the response. An example of a closed question is “Do you want a cup of water Marie, it’s quite warm outside today?” Tone- the tone in which the care workers talks to the service user may vary in the situation and topic of the conversation but is also a very crucial part of communication as it allows the service user to understand by how you say something if you are angry or being sarcastic etc. This is a very dangerous thing as sometimes can be read wrong and the service user might think that you meant it in a completely different way than what you intended.
Empathy- To see the service users point of view and have empathy in their situation is also something that care workers need to insure they evaluate depending on the situation and what the topic of conversation is; sometimes before a service user gets angry or acts in a certain way towards a service user it is important they put themselves in the service users shoes such as if a service user forgot to flush the toilet the care worker should understand that the service users are fragile and might not remember to do certain things due to age. Gerald Egan invented an acronym for some of the main things that care workers need to insure they include in their conversation. Fisher, A. (2005) OCR National Health & Social Care Level 2
Open questions & closed questions
Open questions are very important when talking to service users as it provides the service user with an opportunity to speak about things they like or thoughts and feelings and understand that the care worker wants to hear about these things as they are the ones who asked the question rather than the service user talking randomly about it to the care worker this allows the service user to feel like they are truly wanted in a conversation and that their opinion is valued in a conversation with the care worker. This also helps the service user to socialise with other as if a care worker understands that there is someone in the care/residential home that have the same views can ask them to join the conversation which also helps the service user to make friends and talk to people in the care home about what they feel about certain subjects and there opinion and view about things in the outside world. Examples of an open questions include “Have you seen the new x-factor series, which act would you like to win?”, “I missed last night I didn’t have the chance to see East Enders what happened?” “Did you enjoy last week’s trip to Buckingham palace?”
It is important that care workers use open questions not only to gain insight on how the service user is feeling but also to engage a conversation and change the format of the conversations they have with the service user this helps the care worker to also form a bond with the service user helping again with their relationship and friends and give them more of a variety of things to talk about without it always about what the service user wants to do or how they feel about things in the care home again helping the relationship between both parties. It is crucial care workers use open questions when communicating with service users. Kwame (service user) is in the living room chilling not really doing much Sabrina (care worker) has just finished her shift and has some spear time before she needs to get her train back to Liverpool; she sees that Kwame is by himself so she goes up to him and asks if he will like a cup of tea and a little chat with her. Kwame says yes and they go into the sitting room where it is quieter and Sabrina begins the conversation by asking how Kwame is and the conversation starts to involve and Sabrina then asks Kwame how he feels about the surgery that he might have to get to repair his knee.
Kwame them explains to Sabrina that he is a frightened as if the surgery goes wrong then he might have to stay in a wheelchair forever as so he is not sure if he should risk the chance. Sabrina then continues the conversation by explaing her opinion and reassuring the service user that it will be ok. This is a perfect example of how care workers should use open questions appropriately as the care worker didn’t just go up to Kwame randomly and ask an open question just to use the skill but showed true interest in the conversation by inviting him to have tea and to sit in a quieter place rather than just sitting next to him in the dining room and not being able to hear nothing that he would have said by suggesting to go to a place where it is more calm allows the service user to understand that she wants to talk to him more laid back instead of things just about the care home. This makes the service users and they feel the care worker truly wants to hear what he has to say. Also the way in which Sabrina eased the conversation and waited a bit to use an open question instead of rushing the conversation with the service user helped the service user to understand that she wanted to talk to him and not just wants to get a piece of information from him. Closed questions are questions that require specific answers or short direct answers from the service users.
Closed questions are a way in which care workers can receive factual information from the service user. They are good when care workers need one word answer or a short piece of information from the service users such as “Have you had your lunch yet” closed questions do not allow the service users to give very long detailed answered and so are the opposite of open questions. Closed questions are also good to communicate with a service user that has difficulty or doesn’t understand English or just to develop a conversation or start it as it allows them to talk to you or have some kind of conversation with someone but without confusing them with an open question as they might think it is offense or that you are talking bad things about them this will down grade their confidence so therefore is good to you closed questions to allow them to understand what you are saying without confusing them.
This also allows the service user to feel comfortable with you talking to them and being able to understand your personality and character without jumping to conclusions about you, this makes the service user more comfortable as if they know and understand who you are as a person they are more likely to feel comfortable a round you and be more helpful which you providing care to them. It also makes them know that you were there from day one so they can count on you with anything.
Closed questions are needed and important as they are a good way in which to start a conversation as if you don’t know the service user very well it is good to get an insight in their character and personality and be able to create a small bond before you just go ask open questions which the service user might interoperate as you being nosy and trying to find things out about them for no reason.
Depending on the type of the person – closed or open – understand the service user
* Closed questions from people who don’t want
* To develop conversation
In conclusion both question techniques can be used successfully when communicating with service users, depending on what type of response the care worker is seeking from the service user.
Asking the right questions in the correct way is important whether you are looking for open or closed answers from the service user it is also important that care workers include a variety of both open and closed questions as if the care worker only asks closed questions to service users, they will feel that the only thing the care worker wants from them is simple information and don’t really value their opinion and outtake on things however if care workers only ask open questions service users will get sick and tired of you always asking questions and will find your conversations boring therefore it is important that care workers find a perfect balance between open and closed questions when communicating with service users.